Today my wife and I celebrate Twenty-One years of marriage. We have been friends for over Twenty-Three years and have a wonderful son as well who takes a little bit from the both of us. While we were having breakfast today, we started talking about the years and things that we worked on to implement into our marriage.

There are several people who will see us out and the first thing they say is that you guys are Marriage Goals or they want to be like us. My wife and I both reply that this takes work and please don't pattern yourself after us. This marriage took a lot of sleepless nights, silent moments, and hard work. While we were talking, we both came up with ten things that we feel worked for us and could possibly help with some of yours. Again, I repeat these are only suggestions, but when some of these very things are mentioned by our parents and Pastor, that's proof enough for me to try it in my marriage.

Communicate: This is very important but sometimes the hardest thing to do in a marriage. Always communicate with your spouse regardless of the situation. If you are waiting on them to read your mind, you'll be waiting a long time. Don't have them guessing when something is wrong, let them know how you feel.

Respect: Always respect one another. I have never done anything to make my wife feel less than what she is. I was raised by a single woman, so respect is something that ranks very high for me.

Honesty: This one is a no-brainer when it comes to marriages and relationships. Keep it real with your spouse. This could be about where you're going, who you're with, and sometimes about the clothing they want to wear. If you can't be honest with them, it will lead to a problem with the next topic.

Trust: If there is no trust then there is nothing left. Sometimes you may make them mad with your response but at least they will know exactly how you feel with no doubts in their mind. It has worked for us and we are celebrating Twenty- years today.

Spending Time: We are all busy, moving with the kids and working hard on the jobs. But never get too busy where you are not spending time with one another. It could be a neighborhood walk, taking in a movie, or leaving the television off and just talking with one another.

Erik Tee
Erik Tee

Intimacy: I know what you're thinking, but there is so much more to intimacy than Sex. You could write each other letters, wash your wife's hair, stare at each other and remember why you fell in love. It's the little things first that create that explosion in the end.

Alone Time: Now that you have spent time with your spouse and have a fun-filled evening or weekend. Don't forget to have a little time for yourself. It could be grabbing a rink with the fellas or taking in a dinner with your girls. However, there is nothing wrong with taking a little time to yourself. You would be surprised at how just a little time to yourself could really do you some good personally.

Explore New Things: Don't hesitate to travel and see new things. You may even find things in your city that you were skeptical of trying and ended up liking in the end. You may be into zip-lining, go-cart driving, or taking a cruise. Take the time to enjoy life or life will truly pass you back.

Come First: As parents, there is nothing that we love more than our kids. We will give our last for our children. But remember as they get older, they start dating, eventually, get married and won't be at home like they once were. If you are fully committing your time to your children and not each other. You may find out that you have outgrown one another and may not have anything in common anymore.

Always Date: My Pastor says this a lot in church. It kinda resonates with the Come First statement. Make sure you find time out to date one another. If not you are not able to enjoy one another and hear how their day was. You have to date and spend time with one another. You can give so much of yourself to others that you have absolutely nothing left for your spouse.

Here is one of our favorite songs, Raheem Devaughn's "I Don't Care", and whether it's Chef Jeff or DJ Doughboy. When we walk into the building, we have to have this one coming through the speakers.

The fairytale movies with happy endings are not like that in real life. After lust, admiration, and crushes, what do you have left? Find you a friend, get to know them, Find out what they like and don't like. If you find out that you share some of the same things, that may be the one for you.



LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

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